Learning a Grace-Filled Approach to Ministry: Sacrificial Love
It’s a time of rants, cynicism, and reactionism. Our world needs to be introduced to grace. At the same time, our churches need to be reminded of grace. Are our ministries characterized by grace? How can we grow in grace in such a way that it leads everything from our staff meetings to Sunday morning interactions with hurting people? This is Part 4 of a series on learning a grace-filled approach to ministry (see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Although my area of focus is worship ministry, these ways of grace can be applied to just about any arena of ministry.
A grace-filled worship ministry will give up: We give up what we want for what God wants to do. This is love. This is what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. If we press our knees into the imprint of those He left behind, I think we will begin to understand what sacrificial love looks like. It has been said that love is “your good at my expense.” That is sacrifice.
I have 4 kids; 3 of them are boys. With the boys I have made a commitment that we call the “Scott Compass.” Like the four cardinal directions on a compass, we have four cardinal ways we follow Christ: 1) a surrendered will; 2) an important work; 3) an honorable love; and 4) a greater purpose. And we package these four commitments into a single statement that goes like this:
“I will give of myself by doing things that matter in a loving manner because I love God.”
I will give of myself (a surrendered will)…by doing things that matter (an important work)…in a loving manner (an honorable love)…because I love God (a greater purpose). I Corinthians 16:14 is prime text for us, which says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” Sacrificial love is all over the commitment that the Scott men have made.
Is sacrificial love a mark of your ministry? A grace-filled ministry will gladly lay down what you want for what God wants and what serves others best.
When the artist in you desires the freedom to spontaneously create a moment of praise, but the clock says, “Oh no you don’t!,” do you give up what you want in a loving manner? When your drummer is late to rehearsal week after week after week, do you withhold the desire to lay into him, even though you feel you have the right to correct him? When you feel strongly about a particular song, but your lead minister says it should be trashed, do you give up that desire?
Grace-filled worship ministers will follow the example of Christ, as we continue to be living examples of one of the first Christian songs ever sung, Philippians 2:6-8:
“Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
A grace-filled ministry will give up. We will lovingly sacrifice for others.